|"I should have been a vampire squid|
scuttling across floors of silent seas..."
After the Helen fiasco, life continued on. Young people do not do well with embarrassment and it is quickly forgotten.
I had my friends- all guys who were into music, getting back to nature via hiking-camping, some of them even played guitar. Friends are an anchor, a fortress that tells the world, "See? We're all into this. If that makes us weird, then weird we shall be."
But one major problem: it's dude city and that fact was a burning reminder of a perceived failure for some in the group, me included. Virgins are losers.
There is no doubt we placed way too much importance on having a girlfriend, being in love and lust, but this was paramount. We were just dumb kids and small matters were vastly important.
The Follies of the Ego
A date with Jackie followed. Not bad, until the questions came: "Why did you pick me?" I had no answers or rather I had no smooth lines to convince her to bestow her graces upon me. When the temperature rose, she asked me point-blank: "Is you were to get a girl pregnant, would you take care of her?"
I was shocked. My interests were selfish. Your welfare? Huh? Besides, the boiler room was in charge at that point. Pregnant? Baby? Take care of...what? The mood was killed and there were no more dates after that.
It is at this point that I might say the obvious, (which is what I'm good at doing,dammit!) If time travel were an option, I might go back and do some serious talking to that young man and state: "You've got plenty of chances for a girlie. What's wrong with her? Or her? You're the one who's holding out for something you cannot have: the ones you really want are beyond your reach." Human nature in action time and again.
|St. Catherine, patron saint of the disappointed.|
Catherine was the total enigma. She was out of my league. I knew it and so did she. Yet, she let me flirt with her and we even went out on some smoking dates, but always the same message: you may be good for my ego, but I've already got a boyfriend. You are always going to be an option, not a priority.
We were not so different in a socio-economically, it just came down to looks. Her "looks" bracket was much higher than mine.
She was my enigma for most of high school. I sat next to her in typing class and squeezed by with little or no knowledge of typing. She melted me, confused me, burned my circuits and perplexed every rational thought or battle plan I had about how to win her heart. She was in control the entire time: she knew it. I was too stupid to really know it and lacked the experience to do anything about it anyway. I was her monkey, St. Catherine of the cross.
She certainly wasn't dating anyone at the high school. I always imagined that she had some college guy as a boy friend.
Oddly and cruelly, she went to the same college as me. It was both delight and a downer the day we ran into each other and exchanged a vigorous hug. One part of me got that sinking feeling: Can't I escape this torture even at college? I mean, fucking hell! College with her there was no different: no bounce, no play.
One of my music major colleagues dated her and one day, he rubbed it in my face. I had told him about our past, shabby as it was. Can't say why Mr. Bearded Granola, normally a reasonable guy, drew such a sharp dagger for me, but I write this off as the insanity of jealousy that men display when a threat is perceived. Piss and daggers, piss and daggers.
I believe there was one date we had during this time. She must have been between fabulous bo-friends because Mr. Second Rate got the call. The date was wonderful, but like all the others, but there was no dating me. Some musician said, "You do shitty things until you stop doing shitty things." That pretty much summarizes that experience.
She got married and moved and I went to Baltimore to study music.
The problem though with living in a small town is that even when lots of time passes, houses where people live do not. They can jump out as unexpected reminders- a sudden jolt to the memory. Perhaps because I hate to lose, I will circle by her mom's house around Christmas time to see if I can catch a glimpse of what surely must be a very grey Catherine. How many kids does she have? Does she look like shit? This is not love, but perhaps gloating. To convince myself that I won? I don't know. Maybe I'm just a jerk who masquerades as a nice guy.
Next: Hey dummy, this girl is talking to you.